Reflective Teaching – Blog Challenge

I’ve been blogging in different ways for the past 3 years. I began when I was in the Education Media Design and Technology master’s program at Full Sail University in 2011. Over the year, I created my first blog, A Quest to Engage and Motivate. Next I started a family blog so that my daughter and I could share our adventures with family and friends. Last year I brought blogging into my classes. My AP Biology students each created their own digital portfolio websites. I collected our adventures together and tried to post at least monthly to our AP Bio Rockstars blog. For the Honors Biology class I tried to keep a running blog as well, but with limited success. I didn’t post frequently enough and that is why this year I will be asking Honors Bio Rockstars to be guest bloggers. My department also set up a group professional blog Beyond the Microscope. Creating a group blog is a great way to start out since one person doesn’t feel the pressure to maintain the blog all by themselves. It is a great way for us as a team to share what we are thinking about and what is going on in our classes.

I set up my own professional blog last year when my AP students began their blogging journey, but I couldn’t seem to make the time to write my own posts. This leads me to today, September 1, 2014 and the Reflective Teaching – 30 Day Blogging Challenge from TeachThought. This is the perfect impetus to start me on this new journey. Right now 30 posts, one post a day, seems too overwhelming, but I just have to take it one post at at time and my goal will be to post once a week…here goes…

1st Post Week 1 – Write your goals for the upcoming school year.

1. Continue using technology to connect my students.

In addition to blogging and creating websites, last year my students also began using Twitter and were involved in the KQED Do Now program. I really enjoyed the opportunities to hear my students opinions and to have them share with each other and students from around the country. Already this year we have been following the Ebola epidemic online, using Schoology to communicate, and collaborating through Google Docs. I want to continue to leverage the power of technology to connect my student to each other and their world.

2. Find new ways to communicate with parents/families.

I often hear from parents that their high school student is so busy and they rarely share what they are doing at school. I have a high school freshman this year and so I am going to make a concerted effort to find ways to share with parents/families what is going on in the classroom. Our class blogs are a start along with posting updates and a question of the day to Twitter.

3. Keep the focus on inquiry and creation.

My students do not need to rely on rote memorization and repetition as I did when I was a student. Today most people walk around with an amazing computer in their hands…their cellphone. My students need to know how to find resources, determine the reliability/validity of the resources, and use those resources to investigate a process or solve a problem. Designing opportunities that spark curiosity and lead students to discover meaning through experiential learning will help prepare them for college and beyond.

I’ve got many other ideas and goals for the upcoming year, but these three seem to be enough for me to include here in writing for all to see and hold me to over the next 9 months. I am certainly looking forward to an amazing year ahead as I continue on my journey to engage and motivate.

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